Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Longest Day In Racing - Monaco, Indy and Charlotte

Nico Rosberg wins Monaco GP

Nico Rosberg and Mercedes Silver Arrow
EVERYWHERE – This was quite a weekend for racing.  Three of the most prestigious races, The Grand Prix of Monaco, The Indy 500 and the Charlotte 600, in the world all happened on Sunday and all were memorable with unique endings. 

S. Vettel at 2013 Monaco GP
Broadcast Sunday morning in the US, the Monaco Grand Prix took place under a clear and sunny day against the backdrop of the beautiful picturesque Cote d’Azur.  For the third race this year, Nico Rosberg placed his Silver Arrow Mercedes on the pole and drove a clean, incident free race to win his first Monaco GP.  This was also the first time that Mercedes Benz has been in the winner circle at Monte Carlo – a truly memorable race.  It was also extra special for Nico as his father, Keke, also crossed the finish line first at this race 30 years ago.  "Today the team gave me a great car and it's fantastic to see how we've managed to improve in a short space of time." About his father’s win 30 years ago, Rosberg continued, "It's special, but honestly that's not what I was thinking of when I was crossing the finish line."  The Infiniti-Redbull cars of S. Vettel and M. Webber finished 2nd and 3rd respectively.   

Tony Kanaan wins first Indy 500The Indy 500 ran next and was probably the most competitive in the 97 year history of this historic race.  Ed Carpenter earned the pole position for the race, but the even money was on Dario Franchitti or Helio Castroneves, both three time winners at Indy.  It was however, Marco Andretti that took the early lead with the intent on being the first Andretti to win this race since Mario in 1969.  But in the end, it was Tony Kanaan, the 12 race veteran that finally finished this race at the top-of-the-podium.  Following a caution period on lap 198, Tony Kanaan made a picture perfect restart to gain the lead.  Then, his good friend Dario Franchitti crashed forcing the race to end under the yellow flag.  Kanaan said the last two laps, particularly the last one, were the longest of his career. He closely followed the pace car, and he held up one finger as he crossed the finish line. (Autoweek)

Kanaan wins Indy 500 on 12th attempt.Sunday’s longest day of racing ended with the Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte, which ended up to be a long, long race. The weekend favorite was Kyle Busch who was looking for a sweep after winning both the Nationwide and Busch series races earlier in the weekend.  But the race at Charlotte turned out to be an ordeal for the drivers with 11 caution periods and three red flags.  The most bizarre incident was on lap 122, when an overhead cable supporting a FOX TV camera snapped, falling onto the track and injuring several fans.  Busch, leading the race at the time, ran over the cable causing damage to the right front.  Busch said he didn't see the cable when he ran over it.  "I heard a big thump on the right front tire,'' he said.  "I thought the right front tire blew out and that's how hard it felt. It did have an effect of slowing my car down. I couldn't feel it.” (ESPN)
Kevin Harvick comes out of nowhere to win Charlotte 600
Kevin Harvick holds NASCAR Sprint Cup Trophy

NASCAR granted an unusual 15-minute race delay to allow the teams to assess and repair damage to the race cars.  After the restart, Busch looked strong, but an engine failure on lap 257 took him out of the race.  Kasey Kahne then looked to be the favored contender, but a pit stop strategy error left him with worn tires late the end giving Kevin Harvick the edge on the final restart.  Kahne finished 2nd with Kurt Busch following up in 3rd.
Kevin Harvick clicks photo of damage to car after rolling over camera cable at Charlotte 600

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